BBC TV comes to iTunes Store, for a price

Internet, Web 2.0

bbc.gifIt seems all the BBC is doing right now is pushing out its content into every Web 2.0 and online orifice going. The latest development is that it expects the good old British public (who already fund the BBC) to pay for content via the iTunes Store.

For just £1.89 per episode, users can download a range of popular Beeb fare including Torchwood, Life on Mars, Little Britain, Spooks, Robin Hood, and other BBC classics.

There’s now quite a bewildering choice of methods by which you can get your fix of Auntie, and depending on how organised you are, how much you care about quality, and the state of your bank balance / credit limit.

Of course, you can keep it “old skool” and just watch live TV from the comfort of your sofa (or discomfort, if you shop at the same furniture stores as Gary).

If you’ve still got a working VCR and cassettes, you can record and keep your programmes. Same if you’ve a DVD recorder.

You can upgrade your home equipment to include a PVR/DTR (you choose which acronym you prefer, they’re much the same), but you need to be disciplined enough to remember to record the shows you want to watch.

You can catch up on BBC shows for up to a week after they’re aired via the iPlayer, providing that the BBC has attained the rights to let you stream or download the show. If not, you’re scuppered.

You can see if the BBC has officially put archive clips of your favourite shows on YouTube or MySpaceTV. Or, if they haven’t, you can search for bootleg versions (not that I advocate that, of course).

You could go to your local record store, or online, and see if the BBC has released a DVD of your favourite shows. The advantage of most DVDs is that they are of at least — but usually equal to — DVD in quality. That’s picture and sound quality, by the way: programme content may vary. Work it out — if you want to buy every episode of a drama series from iTunes, it could be cheaper to get a copy from Amazon or eBay.

Failing all that, you can pay the BBC (and Apple) for the privilege of watching that show again, in below-DVD quality. Great!

My advice (if you’re still reading this) is to pay your TV licence fee, plan your TV watching, record the shows you want to watch again, buy the DVDs of series that you really love and want to watch ad infinitum, and don’t give the BBC more of your money for the same programmes.

(Via Pocket Lint with similar-wavelength inspiration from Chris Garrett)

Related posts
Macworld 2008: Digital Copy for iTunes makes DVDs iPod-friendly
Macworld 2008: Apple announces iTunes Movie Rentals
UK iTunes prices to come down by 10% – thanks to EU pen-pushers

Andy Merrett
For latest tech stories go to